Scientific letters

The rat lung-worm Angiostrongylus cantonensis: A first report in South Africa

C E Archer, C C Appleton, S Mukaratirwa, K J Hope


A study of the parasites of invasive rats in the eThekwini Municipality of KwaZulu-Natal has led to this first report of Angiostrongylus (Parastrongylus) cantonensis, commonly known as the rat lung worm, in South Africa. A. cantonensis is clearly endemic in this region and probably also in other areas of South Africa. There are a few reports of this nematode from Africa (excluding South Africa): in rats and snails in Egypt (Fouad and Abdulla, 1978), in snails in Nigeria (Sowemimo and Asaolur, 2004), and a human case from Ivory Coast (1980). As humans are accidental hosts, the parasite cannot complete its life cycle, and immature worms lodge in the central nervous system where they elicit a condition known as eosinophilic meningitis.

Authors' affiliations

C E Archer, UKZN, Westville Campus

C C Appleton, UKZN, Westville Campus

S Mukaratirwa, UKZN, Westville Campus

K J Hope, UKZN, Westville Campus

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Angiostrongylus cantonensis; eosinophilic meningitis; angiostrongyliasis

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2011;101(3):174-175.

Article History

Date submitted: 2010-06-01
Date published: 2011-03-01

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